OFFICE OF DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
TO: ALL MEDIA HOUSES
FROM: Kimberley Weller, Information Officer
DEPT: Information and Training
PHONE: (876) 906 9674-5 / 754 9077-8 FAX: (876) 754 3229
For Immediate Release
Press Release # 1
Issued on: Thursday April 28, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
“Prediction: Active 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season”
The forecast from the Colorado State University for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season indicates sixteen (16) named storms of which nine (9) could be potential Hurricanes and five (5) Intense Hurricanes. This was announced by the Acting Director of the National Meteorological Centre Mr. Jeffrey Spooner, at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Hurricane Preparedness Month Press Conference held today.
Members of the media were also informed of the roles and various preparedness measures that are being implemented by the ODPEM, Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Works Agency (NWA).
(Caption) Seated from left to right at the 2011 Hurricane Preparedness Month Press Conference- Director of Information & Training, Ms. Delmares White, Acting Director of the Meteorological Service, Mr. Jeffrey Spooner, Director General of the ODPEM, Mr. Ronald Jackson, Director of Emergency Services of the MOH, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse and Communications Manager of the NWA, Mr. Stephen Shaw.
Speaking on behalf of the ODPEM, Director General Mr. Ronald Jackson highlighted the work being executed by the ODPEM including training communities in Disaster Response, Shelter Inspections and Damage Assessment. Mr. Jackson also shared strategies for strengthening the regional and national mechanisms of Disaster Risk Management, some of these included, the re branding of the ODPEM Volunteer Programme, and to increase the utilization of social media along with SMS text messaging. He highlighted the need for a continued emphasis on individual and community safety in mitigating risks associated with hazards and maintained the ODPEM’s commitment to educating the public.
Director of Emergency Services of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse informed that the Ministry continues to place a strong focus on strengthening disaster preparedness and response planning within the public and private health centres. Dr. DuCasse indicated that such activities included continuous assessments on hospitals to demonstrate whether the building structures are able to withstand any hazard and a sustained public education programme on food safety and vector control.
According to Communications Manager of the National Works Agency (NWA), Mr. Stephen Shaw the corporate area’s gully network comprises of 18 waterways totaling 70km and the Sandy Gully network is less than 12 km and that the NWA is working on a plan for the different sections of the channels to treat all the defective areas to avoid flooding and damage to property however, this treatment method is totaling at a current cost of 5-6 billion Jamaican dollars.
The press conference was hosted by the ODPEM to launch the annual Hurricane Preparedness Month beginning May 1 which is aimed at increasing the general awareness of the Jamaican public to the importance of preparing for the upcoming 2011 Hurricane Season.